Knights Clinch At Least a Share of The East Divisi

Nov. 17, 2007

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DALLAS - Kevin Smith rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns as UCF handed SMU its ninth straight loss 49-20 Saturday.

UCF (8-3, 6-1 Conference USA) clinched at least a share of the East Division with the win and can host the league championship game with a victory next week against Texas-El Paso.

Smith, who did not play in the second half after the Knights jumped out to a 35-13 halftime lead, set a Conference USA record with 25 touchdowns this season. He broke the mark established in 2004 by Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams.

SMU (1-10, 0-7) hasn't won since beating North Texas on Sept. 8. Phil Bennett, in his sixth season with the Mustangs, coached his final home game. He was fired three weeks ago but agreed to finish the season.

The Mustangs play their final game next weekend at Memphis.

Bennett's home finale got off to a rocky start as UCF's Khymest Williams returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.

Smith's 22-yard TD run gave UCF a 14-3 lead midway through the first. He added an 80-yard touchdown run just before halftime.

Smith, who has 1,945 yards rushing this season, has three runs of at least 80 yards this season.

SMU quarterback Justin Willis threw for 112 yards and was intercepted twice.

The Knights built their lead to 42-13 when Johnell Neal picked off a Willis pass and returned it 72 yards for a score.

Phillip Smith, who had a 7-yard TD run in the first half, gave UCF a 49-13 cushion in the third with a 10-yard scoring run. UCF racked up 484 yards against a SMU defense allowing nearly 500 per game.

SMU's Chris Butler scored on a 1-yard run and Zach Rhodes added a receiving touchdown.